First Pics: Brigantessa opens at 1520 E. Passyunk Ave.

Brigantessa, the new Southern Italian bar and restaurant from the owners and chef of Le Virtu, is now open at 1520 E. Passyunk Ave.


The owners Francis Cratil Cretarola and Catherine Lee and chef Joe Cicala had originally planned to open in July, but due to some problems that arose once they began renovating, the opening had to be pushed back until October. The kitchen area had to be completely demolished before they could finish building and work toward their first day on Oct. 14.

A look at the bar area you see upon entering Brigantessa.



The restaurant serves Italian cuisine, most of which will be wood-fired in a massive oven that was handmade from volcanic ash from Mt. Vesuvius. Though Cicala specified that the menu is not strictly that of a pizzeria — it’s a combo pizzeria, salumeria, birreria and enoteca — they serve pizza, antipasti and selection of more substantial meals like lamb, which Cicala considers to be one of his favorites.

The menu is set up in a way to allow for customers to come in for something small for $5, or bigger entrees for up to $30. “You get the experience you put into it,” Cicala said. (For the full Brigantessa menu, see below.)

At the bar there is a large picture of the restaurant’s namesake, Brigantessa, a band of southern Italian female guerilla fighters who resisted the unification of Italy.

As far as drinks, Brigantessa has eight signature cocktails, 16 beers on tap, five of which are Italian craft beers, and of course a selection of wine, including several on tap.

The restaurant’s upstairs seating area.


The décor includes photographs throughout that were taken around Italy by Kateri Likoutis, one of Le Virtu’s servers who is also a photographer.

A closer look at one of the photos by Le Virtu server and photographer, Kateri Likoutis.


The restaurant is not currently taking reservations, but is open to walk-ins for the first week or so of business. They’re planning on starting to allow for reservations on Open Table in a few weeks.

Hours for the restaurant are from 5 p.m. until 12 a.m. from Sunday through Thursday and until 12:30 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. They are planning on adding lunch hours once they are more established. You can visit Brigantessa’s website here. And here’s that menu:

Brigantessa menu

6 thoughts on “First Pics: Brigantessa opens at 1520 E. Passyunk Ave.

  • October 13, 2014 at 10:20 pm

    Looks amazing! Can’t wait to go there!

  • October 14, 2014 at 9:54 am

    Sorry, I doubt that they’ll have a Pizzazz on the menu.

    • October 14, 2014 at 1:44 pm

      You’re real cocky on a message board…

  • October 15, 2014 at 8:06 am

    I’m sure they’ll have some gabbagool.

  • October 15, 2014 at 9:20 am

    Sorry, just remembered, you won’t recognize the spelling: capicola.

    • October 31, 2014 at 1:18 pm

      You’re a punk who starts arguments on comments pages. You act sophisticated but you’re really just an uncultured punk from the neighborhood. You meant that screwed up spelling of capicola the first time. Then an hour later, you come back on and check it realizing you look like an ass calling it gabbagool.. Lmfao!!! And then you try covering it up by making a snide joke. It would have worked if you spelled it ‘capicola’ the first time and that gabba-jiberish the second time. But because the opposite happened, it showed your true ignorance.

      You check these comments on an hourly basis.. You have no life.. Have fun with formulating some insulting remarks to sling back at me on this page, or in the comments section of some other article… I understand its the only thing you have… Enjoy.

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